Most of us have actually seen our pups munch in the backyard–in reality, more than 67 percent of individuals state that their canine consumes grass on a weekly basis. Fortunately, it’s typical, it’s completely natural and it’s usually considered safe by vets.
For myself, it’s a constant battle to keep my dog from straying off the sidewalk in pursuit of a tasty morsel!
But, have you ever wondered why your pet does it? Do pets consume grass to cause vomiting due to the feeling ill or missing fiber in their diet or is it something else totally?
Illness & Vomiting
While lots of folks consider illness to be the most likely factor pet dogs eat the green stuff, studies do not necessarily support it. You might be surprised to learn that turf consuming isn’t often connected with signs of health problem. In one research study, only 8 percent of the participants reported seeing signs of illness prior to their pet eating grass, and of that group, just 22 percent reported that their canine threw up after doing so.
Likewise, in another research study, scientists who compared the grass-eating behaviors of pets with moderate gastrointestinal disruptions to those without concluded that a healthy pet dog was more most likely to consume grass than one with an indigestion. Still, pet dogs do, in some cases, show anxious behaviors prior to consuming grass, seeming to look for longer strands and eating them quickly, which stimulates the throwing-up reflex.
Regular Dog Behavior
It’s possible that pets consume your yard to pass the time or to aid in food digestion, or because the turf just simply tastes good. It’s most likely that it’s a natural behavior for pet dogs–one passed down from their wild canid ancestors.
Mark Derr, author of How the Dog Became the Dog, states “The hereditary, dietary, physiological, behavioral and social versatility of canids, combined with a fairly unspecialized oral structure that permits them to be generalist eaters, has actually made them adaptable to different environments and to human societies.”
Your yard might even supply pet dogs with a source of fiber. Speaking of fiber, it might be time to consider adding vegetables or premium sources of fiber, like wheatgrass, to your canine’s diet plan.
How to Keep Your Grass Dog-Friendly
- Make a dog-safe area. Don’t use pesticides that contain harmful chemicals, or consider making a special dog-safe area in your yard.
- Clean up poop. Decrease the risk of parasite transmission by making sure that your pet dog only eats grass in your own yard. Dispose of dog poop frequently and think about making a pet-waste digester.
Foxtails– small, dry seeds produced by intrusive, grass-type weeds — are widespread in numerous yards and are a severe danger to canines. If you have foxtails in your lawn, be thorough about removing them (dig or pull them up, or soak them with vinegar at ground level) and don’t leave your pet unattended while in the yard.
A caution: Long, stiff grasses with sharp edges have been known to trigger throat abrasions. The esophagus is delicate and in many cases, dogs who eat this kind of turf can experience a major medical issue. If your dog is coughing or showing indications of inflammation after eating grass, call your vet promptly.
And remember–if you have any issues whatsoever–particularly if your canine’s grass-eating appears excessive or continues for long durations of time, or if she isn’t eating normally, it’s best to have her examined by your vet.